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Is HHC Legal in Your State?

Alien
Area 52
April 18, 2022 | Legal

One of the main reasons HHC is so popular is because it can be made from hemp.

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, HHC is legal as long as it’s derived from hemp. However, some states have conflicting laws that could make HHC illegal.

There’s just one problem — because HHC products are so new to the market, there’s no direct mention of them in any local state law. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation on which HHC products are legal and which ones are illegal.

In this article, we’ll shed light on the current regulatory status of HHC in all 50 US states, along with some insight into how these laws could change in the near future.

What Is HHC?

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is a naturally-occurring cannabinoid chemically-related to THC. To learn more about HHC cannabinoid, we first need to know that it was discovered in the 1940s but couldn’t be extracted in high enough quantities to be of any use — until recently. New methods of isolation have been developed that can produce high quantities of HHC for use in commercial products.

There aren’t any clinical studies on HHC’s effects in humans, so everything known about its effects and benefits comes from anecdotal reports or is projected from current research involving THC.

Cannabis oil contains HHC on a table

Is HHC Natural or Synthetic?

HHC has been found numerous times in raw cannabis material. It’s naturally occurring, but only in trace amounts.

HHC forms as THC and other cannabinoids break down into more stable forms. Most THC converts to CBN (cannabinol), but a small percentage remains long-term in the form of HHC.

With that said, it’s also possible to create HHC synthetically. It should be noted that all synthetically-derived cannabinoids are illegal.

Is HHC Legal?

Gavel and marijuana leaf showing legality of HHC

The legal status of HHC is complicated, but most legal experts agree it’s legal under current federal regulations (2018 Farm Bill) — as long as it’s derived from hemp and contains no more than 0.3% THC by dried weight.

However, some states have chosen to restrict alternative cannabinoids like delta 8 THC. While no state legislature has explicitly restricted HHC yet, many assume that states with delta 8 restrictions are likely to invoke similar restrictions on HHC if it gains enough popularity.

HHC Legality by State

It’s important to remember that there aren’t any laws restricting HHC specifically in any state. However, it’s safe to assume that states that have passed delta 8 restrictions would likely consider HHC illegal as well.

US 50 States silhouette on a wooden wall

The legal status of HHC in each state: 

Alabama

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Alabama state law bans all tetrahydrocannabinols, except for those found in hemp. This means hemp-derived HHC is legal here.

Alaska

HHC Legality: Likely illegal

Alaska’s legislature doesn’t specify the difference between THC compounds from hemp versus marijuana. It’s likely that HHC is illegal here, regardless of whether or not it came from hemp or marijuana.

Arizona

HHC Legality: Likely Illegal

Arizona prohibits psychoactive cannabinoids from the entire cannabis genus. This means HHC derived from hemp is likely viewed the same way as HHC derived from marijuana.

Arkansas

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Arkansas law closely resembles federal law — suggesting that only marijuana-derived THC is illegal. Hemp-derived compounds are legal.

California

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Hemp-derived ingredients are exempt from the regulations relating to cannabis extracts. This means hemp-derived HHC is likely legal here.

Colorado

HHC Legality: Likely illegal

Colorado bans any form of modification of cannabinoids regardless of whether or not they’re found naturally in hemp or not.

Connecticut

HHC Legality: Likely legal

New laws enable all cannabis extracts to be legally sold in Connecticut, but only through the states regulatory network.

Delaware

HHC Legality: Likely illegal

Delaware law doesn’t differentiate between the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana versus hemp. Any psychoactive compound from the genus cannabis is illegal in Delaware.

Florida

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Hemp-derived ingredients are not subject to the prohibition laws for cannabinoids in the state of Florida.

Georgia

HHC Legality: Likely legal

There’s no indication that hemp-derived ingredients are illegal in the state of Georgia.

Hawaii

HHC Legality: Likely illegal

There’s no clear information on whether HHC is legal in Hawaii or not because nothing is mentioned in the legislature that would exclude or include active constituents from hemp.

Idaho

HHC Legality: Likely illegal

Idaho is one of the few states that still ban hemp extracts — this includes delta 8 THC and HHC. CBD is only legal here in isolate form.

Illinois

HHC Legality: Likely illegal

There’s no mention of HHC in the Illinois legislature, but the state does specifically ban delta 8 THC.

Indiana

HHC Legality: Likely legal

THC levels are strictly controlled, but as long as the THC doesn’t exceed 0.3% and the extract is derived entirely from hemp, it’s considered legal in the state of Indiana.

Iowa

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Iowa specifically mentions delta 8 THC as illegal, but there are no indications the state is taking steps to add HHC to the banned substances list in the near future.

Kansas

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Kansas bans all tetrahydrocannabinols, but only if they’re derived from hemp. There’s a specific exclusion for hemp-derived substances in Kansas state law.

Louisiana

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Louisiana is notoriously harsh on drug laws. They’re one of the only US states to ban plants like kratom, kava, and kanna. However, there’s no indication that HHC or delta 8 are considered illegal (yet) within the state.

Maine

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Maine cannabis laws closely mimic the language used in federal regulations. This means HHC is likely legal as long as it’s derived from hemp.

Maryland

HHC Legality: Likely illegal

Maryland considers any psychoactive cannabinoid illegal, regardless of whether or not it’s derived from hemp. This means HHC is most likely illegal in the state of Maryland.

Massachusetts

HHC Legality: Likely illegal (soon)

Massachusettes recently added delta 8 to its list of prohibited substances regardless of its origins. HHC isn’t on the list yet, but experts expect it to be added very soon.

Michigan

HHC Legality: Likely illegal

Michigan considers all forms of THC illegal, regardless of source. It’s unclear what stance Michigan will take on related compounds like HHC.

It’s interesting to note that some municipalities in the state of Michigan, such as Ann Arbor, have recently moved to decriminalize naturally occurring psychoactive substances such as psilocybin.

Minnesota

HHC Legality: Likely legal

There’s no mention of HHC in Minnesota state law. Currently, any hemp-derived cannabinoid containing less than 0.3% THC remains legal in the state.

Mississippi

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Mississippi is one of the only states that doesn’t differentiate between hemp and marijuana. However, there are no specific mentions of HHC or any direct language that may deem HHC illegal.

Missouri

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Missouri only prohibits hemp-derived extracts that exceed the federal limit for THC (which is currently 0.3% but talks are underway to increase this to 1%).

Montana

HHC Legality: Likely legal

The language for THC is vague in the state of Montana, and there are no exceptions made for compounds derived from hemp. This means delta 8 is illegal. Montana law doesn’t specify HHC products derived from hemp.

Nebraska

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Cannabis laws in Nebraska resemble the language used in the federal bill — this means any hemp-derived cannabinoid extract is legal, so long as the THC level remains below 0.3%.

Nevada

HHC Legality: Likely legal

HHC is not mentioned anywhere in the Nevada state legislature. However, delta 8 is named as a prohibited substance here. It’s likely that HHC will be added to the banned substances list in the coming months.

New Hampshire

HHC Legality: Likely legal

There are no indications that HHC is considered a prohibited substance in the New Hampshire state legislature — as long as it’s derived solely from hemp and contains no more than 0.3% delta 9 THC.

New Jersey

HHC Legality: Likely legal

There’s no indication that HHC is illegal in the state of New Jersey as long as products fit the legal description for cannabinoid products as per the federal government.

New Mexico

HHC Legality: Likely legal

New Mexico uses the same language for all cannabinoids as the federal government. Hemp-derived HHC is legal as long as THC levels remain below federal thresholds.

New York

HHC Legality: Likely illegal

New York recently banned delta 8 and delta 10 THC, but there is no mention about the prohibition of HHC anywhere in the state legislature. Based on the recent history, there’s a high chance HHC will be banned here soon too.

North Carolina

HHC Legality: Likely legal

North Carolina state law makes no mention of HHC, and there’s no indication that HHC would be considered illegal here.

North Dakota

HHC Legality: Likely legal

North Dakota is one of the strictest states when it comes to the sale of cannabis products — regardless of whether they come from hemp or marijuana. With that said, there’s no specific mention of HHC or any language that may presume HHC to be illegal.

Ohio

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Cannabis products sold in Ohio must be registered, but the law doesn’t provide any indication that hemp-derived HHC is illegal.

Oklahoma

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Recently delta 8 and delta 10 were banned in Oklahoma — but there’s no mention of HHC, and any other hemp-derived cannabinoid extract is considered legal for public consumption.

Oregon

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Oregon is one of the friendliest states toward cannabis. Recreational and medical cannabis have been legal for years now, and other psychoactive substances, such as magic mushrooms, have already been decriminalized.

There’s no mention whatsoever of HHC in the Oregon state legislature.

Pennsylvania

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Pennsylvania hasn’t added any additional rulings to the federal government’s definition of legal versus illegal cannabis extracts. This means HHC is likely legal in the state of Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island

HHC Legality: Likely illegal

While there’s no mention of HHC in Rhode Island law, the state has already moved to prohibit one of the steps required to extract HHC — thus making it illegal to produce but not illegal to buy.

South Carolina

HHC Legality: Likely legal

HHC is not mentioned on the list of prohibited substances in South Carolina, and there’s no indication from existing laws that hemp-derived HHC would be illegal to procure.

South Dakota

HHC Legality: Likely legal

South Dakota uses the same language on its cannabis laws as the federal government. HHC is legal as long as it’s derived from hemp and contains trace amounts of delta 9 THC.

Tennessee

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Hemp is not considered a prohibited substance in Tennessee, and all cannabinoid derivatives are considered legal as per the 2018 Farm Bill.

Texas

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Texas almost banned delta 8 THC in 2020, but the bill was blocked and never reinstated. There’s no indication that hemp-derived HHC is illegal here.

Utah

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Utah state law is not clear whether delta 8 or other hemp-derived cannabinoids are viewed as legal or illegal. However, there are a number of shops here selling these products without conflict.

Vermont

HHC Legality: Likely legal

HHC that’s naturally derived from hemp is considered legal in Vermont. However, all forms of synthetic HHC are strictly prohibited.

Virginia

HHC Legality: Likely legal

In Virginia, cannabis laws mimic the language used in the federal bill — which suggests that any hemp-derived HHC is legal as long as the THC content remains below 0.3% total.

Washington

HHC Legality: Likely legal

There’s no indication HHC is illegal in Washington, and numerous local retail shops are selling this cannabinoid without issues from law enforcement.

West Virginia

HHC Legality: Likely legal

All cannabis products must be registered with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. There’s no language in the laws that suggest HHC would be illegal here.

Wisconsin

HHC Legality: Likely legal

Cannabinoids derived from hemp are considered legal under Wisconsin state law. The exception is delta 9 THC, which is limited to 0.3% of the total product.

Wyoming

HHC Legality: Likely legal

There’s no indication that hemp-derived HHC is illegal in the state of Wyoming.

The FDA & DEA on HHC

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not commented on HHC specifically, but it has said that it does not approve any THC-derived drug for medical use. This statement likely applies to HHC as well, despite the technical differences involved in producing it.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has stated that delta 9 THC is a controlled substance subject to the restrictions delineated in the Controlled Substances Act. They have failed to mention delta 8 or delta 10 THC despite the widespread availability of these cannabinoids in recent years.

Will HHC Cause You to Fail a Drug Test?

Marijuana leaf and urine sample for drug test

Probably. HHC will most likely cause a person to fail a drug test, although some anecdotal evidence suggests that it won’t. HHC is chemically similar to THC and will trigger the same positive results if it’s present in the person’s system when the test is administered.

However, HHC is not as biologically active as THC and could be metabolized more quickly and eliminated from the body sooner. The safest bet is to assume that HHC will cause you to fail a drug test the same way THC will and avoid using it if you know you’re going to be tested.

Wrapping Up: Is HHC Legal Where I Live?

While the laws are confusing and often contradictory, hemp-derived HHC remains legal in most states. Part of this is because this cannabinoid hasn’t been around long enough to draft new laws, and part of it is because it can be derived entirely from hemp.

With that said, the laws aren’t always clear, and they change all the time. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your local state laws before placing an order or using HHC.

With upcoming changes involving the MORE Act, CAOA Act, or other cannabis legislature, it’s highly likely HHC will be confirmed legal throughout the country within the next 24 months.

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